Apple Removes Scam App That Led to Hijacked Facebook Ad Accounts

Apple has removed an app that it was unknowingly hosting on the App Store that scammed Facebook advertisers and led hackers to use advertisers' ad budgets to run possibly malicious ads on Facebook's platforms, Business Insider reports.

iOS App Store General Feature Dock 2
The app previously ranked highly on the ‌App Store‌ when searching for "Facebook ads manager," the app used by advertisers to control their presence and ads they're running on the Facebook platform. The app presented itself as the legitimate ads manager for Facebook but was actually a backdoor that let hackers gain access to an account. One employee of an ad agency told Insider they were locked out of their account within just 10 minutes of downloading and logging into the app from Apple's ‌App Store‌.

Apple said that the app was originally submitted to the ‌App Store‌ as a simple document manager with no ties or functionality to the Facebook platform. Apple claimed in a statement to Insider that the app turned malicious after it was approved for the company's platform. Facebook flagged the app to Apple in mid-July, but only after Insider's request for comment to the Cupertino tech giant was the app removed from the platform.

Apple proudly states that the ‌App Store‌ is "a safe and trusted place to discover and download apps," with apps being held to the "highest standards for privacy, security, and content." Apple screens all apps before they're presented for download on the ‌App Store‌. According to the company, over 250,000 apps were rejected for the ‌App Store‌ last year for violating privacy guidelines, with an even larger 1 million apps rejected for possibly harmful and unsafe content.

Despite Apple's efforts, scam apps have remained a problem for the platform. A study last year found that 2% of the top 1000 top paid apps on the ‌App Store‌ at the time were scam apps, with those apps reportedly earning over $1 million in revenue. In a separate instance, a fake bitcoin app scammed its way to gain over $610,000 after being on Apple's platform.

Top Rated Comments

goaliemn Avatar
7 weeks ago
You can get Malware and hacked even without side loading. Great job.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Piplodocus Avatar
7 weeks ago
If I'm gonna load an app from the internet I'm always sure be very careful to work out where it came from and how trustworthy the developer is. If I get it from the App Store I'd presume Apple have done that for me.

So good work again Apple for saying it's far too unsafe to let people load whatever apps you like on your iPhone/iPad, and justifying the app store as the only safe way to allow them, while hosting scams again and seemingly after being flagged, doing nothing about it until the media are going to shame you. ??‍♂️
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macsorcery Avatar
7 weeks ago
"But don't worry, we are extra careful in keeping those evil emulators out of the AppStore" -Apple
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hagar Avatar
7 weeks ago
We should be mad at the scammers, not Apple. It’s like being mad at the police because people still get murdered.

I rather have a store where 1.25M scam apps are being removed annually than no safeguards at all.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dan From Canada Avatar
7 weeks ago
And this is from Apples famously safed app store?
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Spaceboi Scaphandre Avatar
7 weeks ago

You can get Malware and hacked even without side loading. Great job.
THIS IS WHAT I KEEP TELLING PEOPLE!

Everything Apple says about sideloading is a lie to keep total control, stamping out competition, and maximize profits so there's absolutely zero reason to not have an optional sideloading toggle for those who want it.



Edit: And to those who keep disliking this post, see for yourself: Scam apps have figured out how to trick the App Store review team and it's getting worse. You are not immune to bad actors with the absence of sideloading like you think you are https://9to5mac.com/2022/08/04/fraudulent-chinese-apps-mac-app-store/
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

new app store ads today tab

Apple Introducing New App Store Ads to Help Users Discover More Apps

Friday July 29, 2022 11:12 am PDT by
Apple today announced it is expanding its offering of how developers can promote their apps on the App Store, helping developers expand their reach and making it easier to discover more of what the App Store has to offer. Until now, Apple has offered developers two ad opportunities on the App Store: in the Search tab and within the Search results page. Both ad placements have been a...
iOS App Store General Feature Black

Apple's App Store Comes Under the Spotlight for How It Handles Fake Crypto Apps

Friday July 29, 2022 5:40 am PDT by
Apple's App Store is now coming under the spotlight for how it handles fake crypto apps that scam investors who think they're investing in real, legitimate cryptocurrencies. In a letter addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the chairman of the U.S. Senate on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Sherrod Brown, inquires about the steps Apple takes in vetting, reviewing, and removing crypto apps...
facebook tracking notification

Apple and Facebook Reportedly Discussed 'Revenue-Sharing' Ideas in Past

Friday August 12, 2022 9:55 am PDT by
Facebook has been in a feud with Apple since the iPhone maker introduced its App Tracking Transparency feature that lets users opt out of being tracked across apps on its platforms. In the past, however, Apple reportedly discussed potential "revenue-sharing arrangements" with Facebook that could have given Apple a "slice of Facebook's revenue." According to The Wall Street Journal, which...
app store fraud prevention

App Store Stopped 1.6 Million 'Risky' and 'Untrustworthy' Apps From Defrauding Users, Says Apple

Wednesday June 1, 2022 10:07 am PDT by
The App Store prevented 1.6 million risky and untrustworthy apps from defrauding users in 2021, according to new fraud analysis data shared today by Apple. Apple says that the App Store stopped "nearly $1.5 billion in fraudulent transactions" during the year. Apple rejected more than 34,000 apps for hidden features, and more than 157,000 that were spam or copycat apps. 343,000 apps were...
iOS App Store General Feature Dock

Indie Developer Dogged By Scammy Clone Apps Again Highlights the Holes in Apple's App Store Review Process

Monday February 21, 2022 9:29 am PST by
Apps that copy concepts and features from other apps are nothing new in the ‌App Store‌, but scammy like-for-like clones of genuine apps remain a perennial problem that Apple still hasn't resolved, as indie developer Kevin Archer recently discovered. Archer is responsible for 2Stable's Authenticator App, a feature-rich app that stores and generates secure two-factor authentication tokens...
iOS App Store General Feature Sqaure Complement

Apple Settles 'FlickType' Developer Lawsuit Over App Store Treatment

Thursday September 1, 2022 1:03 pm PDT by
Prominent developer Kosta Eleftheriou has settled his 2021 lawsuit against Apple over its App Store review actions that he said hindered his ability to distribute apps on the platform while allowing copycat competitors to flourish, reports TechCrunch. In his lawsuit, Eleftheriou complained that Apple repeatedly threw up "roadblock after roadblock" against his FlickType keyboard app for the...
apple maps 3d feature

Apple Has Internally Tested Injecting Ads Into Maps App Search Results [Updated]

Monday August 15, 2022 5:27 am PDT by
Apple is aiming to triple its ad revenue from $4 billion per year to double-digit figures by expanding its advertising to more apps, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Currently, Apple ads appear in App Store app searches, where developers pay for promoted spots in results, as well as more standard ads that appear in the News and Stocks apps. Apple also generates revenue with commercials...
telegram app icon

Apple Delaying Telegram From Releasing Major App Store Update, Telegram CEO Says [Updated]

Thursday August 11, 2022 5:43 am PDT by
Telegram's CEO, Pavel Durov, is lashing out against Apple over the company's "obscure" App Store review process that is delaying Telegram from releasing an update to its app that will "revolutionize how people express themselves in messaging." In his Telegram channel, Durov says that an update to Telegram for iOS that will change how people communicate has been stuck in Apple's App Store...

Popular Stories

iOS 16

Apple Releases iOS 16.0.2 With Bug Fixes for iPhone 14 Pro Camera Vibration, Copy/Paste Issue and More

Thursday September 22, 2022 1:04 pm PDT by
Apple today released iOS 16.0.2, addressing a number of bugs that iPhone 14 owners have been experiencing since the new devices launched. iOS 16.0.2 comes two weeks after the launch of iOS 16, and it follows iOS 16.0.1, an update made available to iPhone 14 owners on launch day. The update is available for all iPhones that are capable of running iOS 16. The iOS 16.0.2 update can be...
maxresdefault

Video Review: Four Days With the iPhone 14 Pro Max

Wednesday September 21, 2022 7:49 am PDT by
Apple on Friday released the new iPhone 14 models, and MacRumors videographer Dan picked one up on launch day. He's been using the iPhone 14 Pro Max non-stop since it came out, and over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, has shared his initial thoughts on the day-to-day experience with the latest iPhone. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Dan's mini review highlights...
iPad Pro Big Ol Logo

Five Features Rumored for the New iPad Pro Expected Next Month

Wednesday September 21, 2022 1:36 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple will announce new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models as soon as next month. The new iPads will be the first update to the iPad Pro series since April 2021 and will be an overall incremental upgrade that brings new capabilities and functionality to the highest-end iPad. According to reports, Apple is planning an event for October to announce the new iPad Pro models, a...
ios 16 lock screen feature

Some iOS 16 Users Complain About Slow Spotlight Search and Battery Drain

Wednesday September 21, 2022 4:25 am PDT by
It's been nine days since Apple released iOS 16 to the public, bringing major changes to the Lock Screen, Messages, Maps, and more. In the days following the release, some users have encountered several issues on their iPhones, ranging from slow system performance to battery drain. In the past few days, iPhone 14 Pro users have shared specific bugs related to Apple's latest high-end iPhones, ...
Dynamic Island For Android Users Feature

Android App Copying iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island Released on Play Store

Thursday September 22, 2022 7:57 am PDT by
A copycat version of the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island has arrived on Android's Google Play Store in the form of an app called "dynamicSpot." The app, still in beta, offers customers several different experiences at the top of their smartphones. In its current form, dynamicSpot offers playback control for songs, timers, battery status, and more features coming soon, according to the app's...
facebook meta

Meta Sued Over Tracking iPhone Users Despite Apple's Privacy Features

Thursday September 22, 2022 5:12 am PDT by
Meta is facing a new proposed class action lawsuit that accuses it of tracking and collecting the personal data of iPhone users, despite features and policies made by Apple which are meant to stop that same type of tracking. In August, it was revealed that with the Facebook and Instagram apps, Meta can track all of a user's key taps, keyboard inputs, and more, when using the in-app browser....
apple watch ultra reddit 1

Lucky Customer Gets New Apple Watch Ultra Two Days Early

Wednesday September 21, 2022 2:03 pm PDT by
With millions of devices shipping out to customers with every Apple launch, there's occasionally someone who gets lucky and gets a new product ahead of schedule. This time around, Redditor playalisticadillac received an Apple Watch Ultra from AT&T two days before the official debut, sharing some images on the social media site. The images include an unboxing and comparisons to the...
new airpods pro ear tips

Apple Explains Why Second-Generation AirPods Pro Ear Tips Are Incompatible With Original AirPods Pro

Thursday September 22, 2022 3:12 pm PDT by
Apple today explained why the new silicone ear tips for the second-generation AirPods Pro are not officially compatible with the original AirPods Pro. In an updated support document, Apple said the original AirPods Pro ear tips have "noticeably denser mesh" than the second-generation ear tips. Apple did not provide any additional details, but the mesh density could result in acoustical...